The Gastown Parkades—set among examples of Victorian Italianate and Edwardian Commercial style buildings in the historic heart of Vancouver—consist of two mid-block concrete structures separated by Trounce Alley. One is on Water Street, Gastown’s main thoroughfare, and the other is on Cordova Street, across from the Woodward’s Redevelopment. Bridging the values of the past and the needs of the future, Henriquez Partners Architects aimed to preserve streetscape continuity while respecting Gastown’s unique historic identity.
Sensitive to the area’s turn-of-the century surroundings, but due to the lack of 19th-century models of parking structures, Henriquez Partners’ design intent was to develop a modern architectural vernacular drawing inspiration from the heritage context. Retail uses at grade are located at the Water Street Parkade to stimulate street-level activity and new office space inserted into the front of the existing structure provides streetscape continuity and “eyes on the street.” Stair towers hang from the façade, designed to evoke the neighbourhood’s fire escapes, while an intricate lattice of granite and steel inspired by 19th-century train stations screen the parking space.